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Doctors protest rural classification in Australia

Australia: Classification of some rural areas is exacerbating difficulties of attracting doctors to country towns in South Australia. Hence, the Rural Doctors Association of Australia launched Stop the Rot! roadshow nationwide to highlight problems with the new Australian Standard Geographical Classification – Remoteness Areas system.

The new classification determined the extent of relocation and retention incentives that doctors receive, based on their location. But it places many smaller rural towns in the same category as larger regional centres. This substantially reduced the incentive for doctors to move to or stay in smaller towns.

The grant is based on full-time work at the new location for a period of at least three years, and paid in two instalments.

Overseas-trained doctors receive a reduction in the 10-year moratorium in relation to Medicare provider numbers if they work in rural and remote areas. To work as a doctor in Australia, a Medicare provider number is needed.

Eligible doctors must meet the program’s continuous service requirements. The amount of the grant depends on the ASGC-RA category the doctor is leaving and the ASGC-RA category to which the doctor is moving. But these inducements are scaled according to the classification of a town.

Source: Stock Journal